If you're a traveler and devotee to the arts, then it's likely you have experienced the intense frustration that accompanies the knowledge of an incredible exhibition that is far, far away. More often than not, it is an art show so compelling, some will travel to the farthest reaches of their country simply to attend. Perhaps you're like me, and you too ensure that holidays and trips align with rare exhibitions in various locations around the world? Perhaps not? Luckily, I have done the hard job of researching (daydreaming) about incredible travel locations that will also offer the superb ability to catch an exceptional or must-see exhibition. Discover my list of mandatory travel exhibitions for 2017 and allow your mind to wander.
1 “Stillness in Motion” - Cloud Cities
What: A solo exhibition showcasing the work of Tomás Saraceno
Where: SF Moma. San Francisco, California. US
When: December 2016- 21 May 2017
The newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern art is sure to impress regardless of which exhibition you attend. However, there is something all the more intriguing about the idea of enjoying Saraceno’s progressive, socially conscious work in that space.
2 The Rubble Project: “Is That All There Is?”
Where: The Substation, Singapore
When: 01 September 2016 - 28 February 2017
An iconic contemporary art destination in Singapore for over 25 years, The Substation is revamping in response to the local art community’s vocal outcry of monotony. “Is That All There Is?” was their response, which aims to utilize what the gallery has listed as three radical experiments.
3 “Everything Must Go” - Sophia Al Maria
Where: Third Line Gallery, Dubai, UAE
When: 22 February 2017 - 1 April 2017
An iteration on her powerful “Black Friday” piece for the Whitney last year. This exhibition will create an immersive experience for audiences, whilst baiting them to question their ideas on consumption, capitalism, and chaos. In the context of the space, she furthers the conversations about “Gulf Futurism”, a term coined by the artist which also carries inquiries into isolation via technology, wealth, and Islam. Oh, and the space itself is an exceptional experience.
What: Group show featuring Over 30 artists
Where: Three locations in Sydney, Australia. NSW
- Art Gallery NSW: 30 March - 16 July 2017
- Carriageworks: 30 March - 25 June 2017
- Museum of Contemporary Art Australia: 30 March - 18 June 2017
A three-part show with much to offer outside of art, this exhibition is sure to be a significant one for the Asia-Pacific region. Currently set to premier three times in the next 5 years, (every 2 years), it will be a highlight of the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art, curated across three of Sydney’s premier cultural institutions. If you time it during the end of May to early June, Vivid will be on and you can also enjoy, “one of the most spectacular light shows in the world”.
*Vivid, 23 nights from Friday 26 May to Saturday 17 June 2017.
What: Group show with more than 300 International artists participating this year
Where: Click link for details
- Athens, Greece: 8 April - 16 July 2017
- Kassel Germany, The Fridericianum: 10 June - 17 September 2017
As this exhibition bonanza only occurs every 5 years, (and did not run for over a period between 1964-1972), it is certainly an exhibition that you must attend at least once in your lifetime. A cultural hub for contemporary artists from all over the world, it is also known as the “museum of 100 days”. With two locations being utilized this year, an emphasis on cultural dialogues may just benefit us all.
6 “Antibodies” - Carol Rama
Where: New Museum, NY
When: 26 April - 10 September
The largest presentation of Rama’s work in the US to date. An abstract painter that has had a large influence later in her career, she has more recently attained an almost cult like status amoungst youner artists, bringing along with that a renewed interest in her geometrically complex and dynamic work. It will feature more than 100 paintings, objects, and works on paper.
7 “Viva Arte Viva” - 57th Venice Biennale (2017)
Where: Venice, Italy
When: 13 May - 26 November 2017
One of the most famous art events internationally, the Venice Biennale features “national pavilions” using artists to represent each country. This year it is curated by Christine Marcel, and over 85 artists will be shown. Even more interestingly, four new countries being added this year, and Kazakhstan will have its own pavilion for the first time.
8 “David Hockney”
Where: Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
When: 21 June - 23 October
An icon in the contemporary art world, Hockney’s influence has found its way into many an artists’ oeuvre. Did you miss this show when it was at the Tate Modern last year? Well you will have two more chances to see it, as the exhibition will travel from Paris to the Met Museum in New York. One of the largest exhibitions of Hockney’s work, this exhibition will surely please.
9 Zeitz MOCAA Grand Opening
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
When: 15-17 September 2017 Professional and Patron Gala weekend 23 September 2017 Open to the public
Words cannot relay my excitement for this museum opening. The largest museum on the continent of Africa in 100 years, with architectural imaginings that evoke a child-like wonder, this space will be one to visit in the coming year. Funded by the Zeitz foundation, (a brain-child of former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz and Richard Branson), it will house numerous artists from his collection, as well as utilize the space to showcase local and international talent.
10 “The Way I think” - George Condo
Where: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (40km south of Copenhagen)
When: 9 November 2017 - 4 February 2018
This will be the first time Condo has ever shown in Scandinavia. A focus on his works on paper bring the viewers closer to the artist and his technical style as well as ability. There are so many layers to a Condo, with the art historical references and elements of American Pop art, this show will review over four decades of work by the artist. If you happen to be in Denmark earlier in the year, another iconic show at the Louisiana will feature, Marina Abramović exhibition (17 June- 22 October 2017).
And if you still aren’t convinced that art is worth traveling for, I leave you with the words of Paolo Barrata, President of La Biennale di Venizia. “In this type of humanism, the artistic act is contemporaneously an act of resistance, of liberation, and of generosity.”
About the Author
Antoinette Williams is an independent art consultant, curator, and writer, Antoinette is an enthusiast of art of all media. Holding a BA in Art History and MA in Fine and Decorative Art, she has been a contributing writer for Or Does It Explode Magazine, Fresh Paint Magazine, and Artfetch, (now joined with Rise Art). She currently divides her time between San Diego and New York.